Severide’s Finest Hour: Chicago Fire “Joyriding” Review
By Lisa Casas (@queenofmynerds)
Chicago Fire returns after a three year, I mean week (it felt like years) break with its strongest episode of season two. The emotional feels we grew to love in season one were officially back with its two main leads … Severide and Casey sharing the spotlight, both with moments to shine.
The episode opens with Shay’s new girl, a wild child named Devon, beating on a coffee pot in our favorite couple’s kitchen. Kelly’s not amused and tells her she can take her butt to the nearest Starbucks. No, don’t think this one’s going to hop on the Severide “not 100% lesbian” fire truck. She meets up with Shay at the station later going on a ride along. I guess she wants to be a paramedic in her next life. She does have that touchy feely, I like to help people attitude. It’s confirmed on the ambo’s first run when a drugged-out lady is having a breakdown in a convenience store. Devon helps out as best she can by laughing, “This chick is flat whacked!” Yes, Shay, we see the attraction. Our girl is continuing on her downward spiral, just hope someone knocks some sense into her, or knocks the girlfriend to the curb.
In the most dramatic, heart-clenching storyline of the night, Kelly goes on a jog to clear his head. God knows, he’s had enough drama to last a lifetime – you’re having a baby one minute, not the next, your dad is officially Judas and stole your boss’ job, your best friend doesn’t wash her hair anymore. Who wouldn’t need to get away for a little bit? Severide goes jogging at some remote Area 51 looking place and, wait for it, leaves his phone in the car. Uh, oh. He sees a front loader doing donuts, peeling out, well, maybe just tipping over. He is Superman, so he springs into action taking off his shirt and donning a cape. I may have imagined that part. There’s a young boy, Nathan, in the loader with a rebar straight through his arm screaming, loudly. Kelly goes through hell and back trying to save this kid whose artery has been severed, blood is spurting out everywhere. Second best line of the night is when Severide needs his help to keep the artery closed and says it’s like holding a piece of spaghetti. I bet that kid’s not eating Italian for a while.
Every scene between the two is heartfelt, with Kelly doing everything he can think of to save the boy. You can see the wheels spinning as he attempts one MacGyver move after another. They share a sweet moment talking about their loser, missing in action fathers. Taylor Kinney’s performance is reminiscent of the George Clooney ‘saving the kid in the drain pipe’ episode on ER years ago. As in that episode, we can feel the tension in the pits of our stomachs and almost want to look away at some points. There were huge groans at every commercial break coming from my living room full of women. And that would be the only criticism of the episode. It would have stood out as a true classic if the writers had gone that route – Kelly and the kid, all episode. Save Mouch, the election, Boden/McLeod/Benny, and all the other storylines for next week.
While Kelly’s struggling all night, life is going on. Casey invites Griffin Darden aka Buddy to spend the night at the firehouse and has some touching scenes helping the boy finally deal with the death of his father. The best scene between the two comes when Casey shows him the badge case of fallen firefighters’ and paramedics’ badges who gave their lives in service. Casey says, “It’s okay to cry in here. I have.” Griffin breaks down and cries along with the rest of us.
In an infuriating scene that had me actually talking to the TV, Chief Boden signs away his job to satan herself, Gail McLeod. Is she taking your manhood too, Wallace? Fight, fight, fight, we were all yelling. Boden, in a self-sacrificing move, hands in his resignation in order to save his house. Later in the episode, we find out that House 17 had to die for 51 to live. Benny has the nerve to ask Boden out for coffee to gloat, I mean tell him he didn’t campaign for the job. Yeah, not buying that load of bull.
Speaking of campaigns, Mouch gets to “debate” douche bag (as Hermann so eloquently puts it) Greg Sullivan for union president. Isabella found some dirt on Sullivan – his ex-wife is suing for unpaid child support. Mouch refuses to use the dirt against the dirtbag and loses the election. We love you even more Mr. Man Couch.
In a not so surprising turn, Dawson and the Molly’s crew are suspected of torching their competition, Game Day. Arthur is pressuring for more money. Is it my imagination or is he taking a page from the McLeod playbook and becoming more evil with each eppy? Meanwhile, Gabby’s guy of the moment, cop Jay, says he’s really close to getting the gangster. Under Jay’s direction, Dawson refuses to pay the skim, so Arthur shoots Jay and tries to torch Molly’s. If you blinked you could have missed this. Jay is fine because he’s made of the same stuff as Kelly. Dawson says adios; I can’t deal with someone working undercover. If you blinked you could’ve missed this also. Shot and dumped on the same day – bad break Jay.
Back to the best part of this episode… the not-so-joyfilled joyriding part. Kelly isn’t discovered missing until the next morning when Shay wakes up from her skank induced haze and thinks wow, Kelly’s been in the bathroom for a really long time. She realizes he went jogging the day before and uses her Girl Scout training to track him down. They seemed to share everything last season, and it’s confirmed when she knows to go to their super secret jogging spot. She gets there in time to see Kelly turn the front loader right side up, and emerge with young Nathan in tow. The boy looks like a corpse, and we all know the writers aren’t afraid of killing off beloved girlfriends and puppies all with the swipe of a pen (look out Pouch). I wasn’t holding out much hope for the lad. In the final scene, Kelly and Shay are in a waiting room when Nathan emerges with his mom telling her, “This is the man who saved me.” Taylor Kinney’s face was priceless showing relief, happiness, exhaustion all at once, no words necessary.
Joyriding was a joy to watch with our favorites in scenes that had us cheering, crying, and wanting more. It was also Taylor Kinney’s moment to shine, and he didn’t disappoint. It really was “one firefighter’s finest hour” and the finest hour of this season. The promo for next week’s episode looks like another intense, roller coaster ride of emotions with the focus shifting to Chief Boden, hinting that he’s trapped in a lose, lose situation with no way out. Am I worried? No way! Didn’t you see the heroics tonight? We got this Boden. You hang tight.
- Clarke has the line of the night when he says, “A firefighter needs three things – water, common sense, and balls.” Well put, new guy. I think we’ll keep you.
- Monica Raymund deserves an acting award for her cough alone. She hocks one up when Devon appears at the firehouse. Can we petition for a People’s Choice special mention?
- Isabella uses her secret law degree to get Heather Darden transferred to a minimum security facility. Previews for next week show Heather won’t even have time to unpack. She’s getting out. Casey’s getting a better storyline. Yay!
- Beth, Benny’s wife, stalks Kelly before his jog asking what’s up with his dad. He hasn’t been home in months. Kelly says he’ll investigate. You’re such a disappointment, Benny.
- The binder clip was officially pronounced the new duct tape of our generation when it clamped Nathan’s artery.
- Kelly’s hurt when a huge ladder falls on his leg during the rescue attempt. He’s a combo Superman/salamander because he apparently grows a new one during the night and is better than new by the time he gets Nathan to the hospital.
- Best news of the night – Shayveride is back! Or at least on the way back. The lezbromance showed signs of life when Shay used her Spidey senses to find her man. The look on her face at the hospital made us all say awwwww. Best friends forever.